Alumni Spotlight

Rosemary Gilliam Holbrook

By: Whitney E. Copley
April 13, 2012

An institutional goal of the University of Pikeville is to promote the growth and development of the community at large by encouraging faculty, staff, students and alumni to serve the community and by encouraging members of the community to serve the University. Alumna Rosemary Gilliam Holbrook took this goal to a global level upon completion of law school with her service in the United States armed forces.

During her time at Pikeville, Holbrook excelled both on the court and in the classroom. As a four-year member and tri-captain of the women’s basketball team, she finished her career fourth in all-time scoring with 1,711 points and the all-time leader in rebounds with 1,312, and games played with 128.

In 1998, Holbrook led her team to the school’s first appearance in the national tournament in women’s basketball when the women’s team won the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (KIAC) Championship.

During her final season Holbrook averaged 16.2 points and 11.1 rebounds per game, and she achieved a double-double in 20 of 34 games. For her career at Pikeville, she averaged a double-double. Holbrook finished her career with averages of 13.4 points and 10.3 rebounds per game.

She is a three-time All-KIAC player (1997, 1998, 1999), three-time MVP of the women’s basketball team (1997, 1998, 1999), and the 1999 KIAC Player of the Year.

Holbrook’s achievements were not limited to athletics; her honors include two-time Academic All-American, National Collegiate Business Merit Award Winner, 1998 recipient of A.O. Duer and Emil S. Liston Awards for Achievement in Academics and Athletics, and KIAC Female Student-Athlete of the Year in 1999, which encompasses all sports.

Holbrook graduated third in her class with a GPA of 3.97, earning a bachelor of business administration with an emphasis in accounting. At the time of her graduation, Holbrook was the fourth female athlete in school history to have her jersey retired.

After graduation, Holbrook received the Law School Recruiting Scholarship to attend the University of Louisville Brandeis School of Law from 1999-2002. She earned a Doctorate of Jurisprudence (J.D.), graduating 17th in her class, with the distinction of cum laude, and passed the Kentucky Bar Examination upon graduation.

From 2003-2004, she was employed at the Fayette County Attorney’s Office where she prosecuted criminal cases occurring in Lexington, Ky.

Holbrook joined the United States Air Force in 2004 where she served on active duty as a Judge Advocate General (JAG) attorney until 2010. She was stationed three years at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida and three years at McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey. During her time in the Air Force she was deployed to Baghdad, Iraq, from 2008 to 2009. In Iraq, Holbrook served as an Officer in Charge of the Combined Review and Release Board that conducted Due Process Reviews on Terrorism Cases. While in the Air Force, Holbrook received the following awards:

  • 2007 - Wing Staff Agency Officer of the Quarter
  • 2009 - Wing Staff Agency Officer of the Quarter (two-time recipient)
  • 2009 - Wing Staff Agency Officer of the Year
  • 2009 - Chief of the Section that won the Air Mobility Command Award for Excellence in Discipline

Additional honors include the Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Meritorious Unit Award, two-time recipient of the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Medal, and Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon.

Holbrook expanded her professional repertoire in 2011 when she completed the requirements to become a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).

When asked why she chose her career path, Holbrook replied that she wanted to work in a field that would allow her to improve society in some way. Holbrook said that she felt as though her legal career gave her that chance to make a difference, especially due to her service as a JAG with the Air Force. During her time in the Air Force, Holbrook and other JAG personnel assisted the government of Iraq in developing a criminal justice system. Such an act is a rarity for today’s attorneys. She also said that she pursued the requirements to become a CPA because she wishes to continually challenge herself and improve her professional skills.

Holbrook noted that she chose to attend the University of Pikeville because she was offered the chance to continue to play women’s basketball while pursuing a college education at a very distinguished institution. Holbrook said the small class size and teacher-to-student ratio were also very positive factors that influenced her decision to attend Pikeville, as she wanted to learn in an environment where she was not just a number in a classroom of hundreds of people. Holbrook said, “Looking back now, I’m so thankful that I decided to attend Pikeville, because it truly has shaped my life in so many positive ways. I have many great memories from my time at Pikeville, and more importantly, I have developed friendships with fellow Pikeville alumni, faculty, and staff that I will treasure forever!” One of those friendships even led Holbrook to her husband, 10 years after graduation. When she hears that someone has decided to attend her alma mater, she often replies, “They may not realize it now, but deciding to attend Pikeville is one of the best decisions that person will ever make!”

The University of Pikeville Alumni Association presented Holbrook with the Rising Young Alumni Award in 2011 at the annual Alumni Awards Banquet. Holbrook is currently attending Marshall University pursuing a Master’s of Science in Accountancy and is employed at the Bureau of Public Debt in Parkersburg, W.Va. She is married to Tim Holbrook.

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